Yesterday Way Better Patents spent the day with leading evangelists from the open data community, people who believe that taxpayer created data about government programs should be freely available and that freeing up this data can create boundless economic opportunities to create new applications to help citizens understand what is going on with their government while freeing government people to focus their increasingly scarce IT assets on building high quality expert systems that support their mission. Data Transparency 2013 resulted in a new agenda for open data advocates to increase access to the fast stores of data held by the government. The enabling mechanism for freeing up this data is the DATA Act, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act.
The emissaries from Congress who support the bill included Daryll Issa (R-CA), Eric Cantor (R-VA), and Jared Polis (D-CO). Leader Cantor declared himself advocate of open data and embracing mobile technology as a better means of constitutent self service, displaying both his ecumenical commitment by revealing he carries both an iPhone and an Android device. Citizen engagement through open access to the data that our government creates supports democracy. Rep. Polis, who has been an advocate for start-ups and other information intense businesses, and "gets" that good things can come from open data applications. And, Rep. Issa, who supported the DATA Act last time around and is pushing it to a vote in this Congress, being most expansive in his explanation of the benefits to the taxpayer of structured, standardized and accessible data. Rep. Issa is a Way Better Patents favorite because in addition to understanding the informationization of innovation, and the need for better data standards in government, he holds many patents himself and understands how patents, intellectual property, and innovation work.